Israel beats Belgium to clinch quarterfinal berth
Team Israel advanced to the quarterfinals of the European Baseball Championship on Tuesday with an 11-8 victory over Belgium in Prague, Czech Republic. The boys in blue-and-white finished second in Group D with a 2-1 record behind Germany (3-0) and will face the defending champion Netherlands in the quarters on Thursday in Brno. The quarterfinal will be a rematch of the 2021 championship game.
After allowing Belgium to score twice in the top of the first inning, Israel reeled off 9 straight runs over the next 3 innings and went on to lead 11-3 after Benjamin Rosengard's 2-run homer in the bottom of the seventh. Belgium mounted a late rally and had the tying run at the plate before Jake Fishman struck out Robin Roevins to save the game.
Teenager Aviv Bobrov was credited as the winning pitcher after striking out 3 and allowing 1 run in 3 innings of relief work. Fishman struck out 1 and walked 1 to get the save.
Leadoff hitter Rosengard went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI and 3 runs scored and first baseman Brett Holts was 3-for-4 with 2 runs scored to lead the Israel attack. Centerfielder Yoni Zeevi reached base 3 times and scored 3 runs, while Ty Kelly, Ryan Lavarnway and Rob Paller knocked in 2 runs apiece.
The marks the third straight tournament in which Israel has reached the quarterfinals. In 2019, the team reached the semifinals before falling to Italy. Two years ago, Israel made history by capturing the silver medal.